Bongo Love: Prophets without honour at home
> Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
HARARE-ACCLAIMED Afro-acoustic outfit Bongo Love say despite their high profile and fame abroad, they are yet to be appreciated on home soil.
The well-travelled group that has put Zimbabwe on the international map where they perform at major events but ironically, the reception they get overseas is the complete opposite at home.
John Mambira, one of the group members, has appealed to local promoters for shows.
“The thing is we’re very popular in European countries but Zimbabweans don’t know us.
“This is partly because promoters shun us and we appeal to them to give us a chance to show them what we are made of.”
The group has performed in many festivals abroad among them the Spanish Cultural Centre in Equatorial Guinea and the African Caribbean Pacific Festival in Dominican Republic. They played three sold-out shows in 2007 with Dispatch at Madison Square Gardens in New York City and also performed together with Thomas Mapfumo in Eugene, Oregon, in 2008.
In recent years, they have also globe-trotted alongside Oliver Mtukudzi, the Cool Crooners and South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Bongo Love is a unique blend of Afrobeat fused with traditional Zimbabwean music performed by musicians immersed in a globally influenced musical perspective.
Their original songs and vibrant dances have captured audiences for nearly a decade, making them one of Southern Africa’s most diverse bands.
Since 2001, Bongo Love has risen fast in popularity. In March 2006, they won the national prize of the Music Crossroads Festival in Zimbabwe and were selected to participate in the Interregional Festival of Music Crossroads that took place in Maputo, Mozambique.
They also won the Ethno Music Prize. As a result, they were invited to perform in Sweden and the Dominican Republic, leading to their first major tour of the United States in 2007.
Since that time they have travelled extensively in the United States as well as several African countries playing on a variety of stages including festivals, camps, clubs, and private social functions.
leading to their first major tour of the United States in 2007.
Since that time they have travelled extensively in the United States as well as several African countries playing on a variety of stages including festivals, camps, clubs, and private social functions